Sunday, 4th November, 2018
A warm, humid but cloudier day. We were up at 6.50 am for orange juice and tea. Next was a half hour swim and then coffee. Watched barrow-boy Banks on Marr and then out for a walk. We are staying in a very quiet, underdeveloped area around a golf course. Our villa is very much of a type which middle class Brits built/bought a few years ago and now let out to produce income. Our villa has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large kitchen/diner/lounge/tv room adjacent to a covered patio dining area and a 12m pool. The surrounding streets are lined with such properties.
All around are gardens planted with succulents, yucatan palms, yucca plants, etc. and infilled with macerated volcanic rock. Many have echoes of ‘Old England’ as ex-pats cling to their memories of their homeland. Bistro gravy granules, Auntie Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings and Oak-leaf tinned pressed ham are popular here along with copies of The Sun. The Canaries are not renowned for culture. We only go for the weather.
Monday, 5th November, 2018
Up early this morning just before 7.00 am. Lucky we were because, as we drank our orange juice and tea, a figure appeared outside on our patio. We had left the gate locked but, as he took out his cleaning equipment and went to the pool, he announced that he would come every Monday and Thursday at the same time because he was the pool cleaner. Fortunately, I had my shorts on or he may never have come back again.
The cleaner stayed about 30 mins and then left as quietly as he’d arrived. We had our first swim of the day. I find it is great ‘thinking’ time. Today, I was reflecting on my recent achievement in swimming round the British coastline. I went on to congratulate myself for taking on the total coast lines of the Canary Islands in my spare time. Crowds cheered me on in my personal battle with the waves, jellyfish and things.
In spite of appalling conditions, I battled on and finally reached …. the other end of the pool. By this evening, we have completed 4 hrs of swimming and 8 hrs of walking in our first 4 days. We have celebrated with roast trout accompanied by cauliflower salad and tomato salad. It was all supported with a bottle of Los Mollinos (Tempranillo) which cost a death defying €3.50/£3.00 from our local, corner store.
I slept like a log last night and I can feel the same coming on this evening. We are exhausted! Don’t think this is a holiday. It is warm ‘Boot Camp’ with knobs on. Having said that, we did pledge to ourselves to fulfil certain commitments and you can be sure we will do it. We never give in.
Tomorrow, we will start with a swim followed by an hour’s walk to another town up the nearby mountain where we will shop and then take a taxi back because we will be laden with bags. When will it end?
Tuesday, 6th November, 2018
When we got up at 7.00 am, there were signs that it had rained lightly in the night. It was quite a shock for us and, probably, for the plants around the garden. They are, of course, mainly plants that are happy in arid conditions.
The roadsides are decorated with Oleanders and Bougainvilleas that we know well from our Greek garden but the gardens here are decorated with Agaves, Cactus, Palm, etc.. Here we have a scruffy Lemon Tree which is covered in fruit, a Mediterranean Rhododendron known as Carex Paniculata and lots of Cactus and Palms.
All the garden beds are mulched with black, volcanic rock reduced to pebble-sized nuggets. It sets the planting off beautifully and seems wholly appropriate to the location. We are in a golf course location and the coarse grass is maintained with frequent use of automatic sprinkler irrigation but gardens seem to cope without water other than a very infrequent rainfall.
Wednesday, 7th November, 2018
I am writing this on Thursday morning because I couldn’t walk on Wednesday evening and thought I was going to die until I watched United win in Europe in Fergie Time. Even then, I was so tired that I dragged myself the 5 mtrs to bed and slept for about 7 hours which is unheard of.
The morning started with juice, tea and a 30 mins swim. I then took a photo of a beautiful, red dragon fly that settled on our pool cover which turned out to be my feet. They are beautiful feet but the sunshine made seeing my phone screen so hard that I missed the dragon fly completely.
We paid €200.00/£174.00 to have the pool heated for 4 weeks. It really makes getting in so much easier. The pool is also cleaned twice a week. It is suggested that the pool is kept covered when not in use so we don’t lose the value of the heating and the water is kept clean of leaves and insects. We swim 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the afternoon. Each time we get out, we pull the cover back over. It is a deep pool with 7ft at one end and 5 ft atthe other. Clearly, the owners like diving in. It is 12.5 mtrs long which provides a good swimming length and gets sun all day long. There is a sizeable patio with four sun beds and a covered verandah with a dining table and six chairs.
After our morning swim and some newspaper reading in the sun, we decided to go for a walk acros the moon. Well, much of the landscape here is lunar. We were heading somewhere I’ve never heard of from somewhere I’ve barely heard of and there were two ways to get there. The first was walking along side a fast, main road for about 9.5 kms.. The second was going across country on a footpath across unreconstructed, volcanic terrain.
I was not about to embark upon 9.5 kms. so the lunar landscape it was. It was amazing how hard and unforgiving volcanic rock can be to walk on. By the time we got home – some two hours on – my feet and ankles were feeling real pain and, as the evening wore on, I found that I could hardly stand and walk. I went to bed rather worried that I may be laid up for a few days. Actually, my legs were sore but a few hours sleep saw them recover almost totally.
Thursday, 8th November, 2018
A glorious day from start to end. Hot and sunny with not a cloud to be seen. We were up at 7.00 am and the pool cleaner arrived at 8.00 am. By 9,00 am, we were doing our first, 30 mins swim. We also walked through the golf course area for an hour and a half up to a large supermarket. We took a taxi home.
We have now been here a complete week and, in those 7 days, we have done 7 hrs swimming and 14 hrs walking. This is exactly what we planned when we booked this place. Having spent 4 months in all-inclusive, 5* hotels over the past three years, we believed that we could best maintain our lifestyle by renting and doing it ourselves. We love the fact that we can swim unhindered whenever we choose and cook and eat what we want when we want. It suits us well.
Friday, 9th November, 2018
A lovely, warm and sunny day. Swimming, walking, dreaming in the sunshine. What else is there? After our first swim, we set off for a coastal walk towards a fishing village called Los Abrigos. I must admit that the black, volcanic deposit doesn’t shout ‘beach’ to me but the Spanish are so good about paving coastal walks and supportive of the proliferation of personal swimming pools that the beaches are largely irrelevant.
Our walk provided us with today’s 2hr session and we were certainly ready for a sit in the sun when we got back. Actually, our relaxation in privacy was abruptly interrupted by the arrival of Anna, our Management’s agent who was checking we were happy with the property. She was Spanish but had lived in the south of England for 10 years and spoke excellent English.
When she’d gone, we did our second swim of the day and the cooked swordfish steaks to eat with tomato salad and cauliflower salad accompanied by a delightfully dry but wonderfully flavoured white wine which I’d never tried before and which cost €3.50/£3.06. You really can’t ask more than that .. of wine or life. We feel so lucky and yet every time I say that, my tough little wife says, Well, we’ve earned it! Personally, I still feel unworthy.
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
A wonderful day. Up early for juice, tea and a swim. As we finished our swim, a call came from the front gate. It was an electrician ,,,, from Wigan. Actually, he had not come directly from there but had left his home town 25 years ago and works as a handyman here on southern Tenerife. He was here to fix a faulty bathroom light which he managed in no time and was on his way to a tiling job down the road. He said he hasn’t been back to Wigan for years. Why would you?
We are completing our 10th full day here. Just another 20 left. So far, we have met our targets of 2 hrs walking and 1 hr swimming per day. It feels very satisfying although we did break one of our less strictly observed rules and eat red meat today. Pauline cooked slow-roasted, pulled pork with roasted onions, peppers and mushrooms. It was absolutely delightful. Of course, we didn’t even begin to eat it before we had achieved our other targets. At 4.00 pm, I still had 2500 paces and 30 mins swimming left to do.
I had watched Cardif beat Brighton followed by a very good England rugby match and I was still waiting for Crystal Palace v Spurs in the torrential rain to take place. We ser off down the road and walked the coastal path just far enough to achieve the target. Back for our second swim of the day and the pork was ready. What a lovely meal. It’s great when you haven’t eaten meat for a while.
A lovely day is closing with Pauline watching Strictly Come Dancing and, maybe, we’ll watch a soppy film on Film 4 before review of the newspapers on Sky and bed at midnight. It is a real bonus that the Canaries follow our time zone.